After an amazing two weeks of wrestling that featured CM Punk returning to wrestling for the first time in over 7 years, Brock Lesnar returning, an amazing dream match between Seth Rollins and Edge and WALTER and Ilja Draganov putting on another amazing instant classic for the NXT UK Championship, it was time for Monday Night RAW to bring us back to a disappointing level of wrestling as RAW once again fell to the same problems of poor pacing, repetitive rematches and more.
Luckily there were a few bright points on an otherwise standard disappointing episode of WWE’S flagship show. So as we approach a very average looking Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View I am here yet again (from a schedule that is more unorganized and all over the place than an episode of RAW) to bring you the top 5 moments from Monday Night RAW
5. Things turn ugly between Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair as they turn their match into a shoot fight
In one of the most ugliest moments in recent RAW memory, things would turn ugly between Raw Women’s Champion, Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax as their match turned into a shoot fight as both women became frustrated with each other. The match between the two women would start normally enough as they went back and forth early in the match, however, things went downhill fast after Jax dropped The Queen in an awkward position this led to an awkward moment between the two women as Charlotte and Nia began trading strikes in the ring with neither women selling for each other in a truly messy exchange of strikes and needs to be seen.
Things would continue to go downhill as Charlotte slowly ran the ropes, as Nia caught her and attempted a Soman Drop however both women couldn’t control each other and refused to work together, leading to Charlotte eventually hitting a Russian Leg Sweep on Nia. Late in the match, Charlotte worked on Nia’s leg as both women continued to not work well together, eventually, Nia was able to block a Figure Eight attempt and hit Flair with a big one-handed powerbomb in the middle of the ring for the 3 count mercifully ending the match with Nia scoring a non-title clean win over the Raw’s Women Champion.
Now, why is this on the top 5 moments list? Well, the match was so bad it was in a weird way, fun to watch. While I do respect the commitment that every wrestler has to their work, sometimes it’s just entertaining to watch these fun awkward moments. Seeing Flair and Nia just attack each other and refusing to sell each other’s offence was fun to watch and deserves a place on this list.
4. Damian Priest issues an open challenge which brings out Drew Mcintyre, Sheamus and more
After beating Sheamus for the United States Championship at SummerSlam, things would continue to look up for The Archer Of Infamy as he opened Monday Night RAW this week. Priest opened RAW with an open challenge for his United States Championship with Sheamus answering the call. Sheamus interrupted Priest but would soon be interrupted himself as Drew Mcintyre also made his entrance, however, chaos would keep occurring as the All-Mighty WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley made his entrance flanked yet again by MVP. MVP got on the mic and suggested that Lashley should be the one to face Damian Priest for the United States Championship, stating it was good for business for Lashley to become a double champion.
Interruptions would continue to be the name of the game as Riddle and Randy Orton made their entrance with Riddle eventually purposing a title defence against The Hurt Business. This would force officials, Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville out as they made two matches for RAW official, first was a United States Championship Triple Threat match between Drew Mcintyre, Sheamus and Priest and the other one was the main event of the night, with that match being a tag match for the RAW Tag Team Titles with RK-BRO defending the titles against Bobby Lashley and MVP.
While this segment did fall victim to one of RAW’s biggest problems, with that being a long, multi-person promo to start a show, it still had some decent moments. It was great to see Damian Priest get the spotlight he deserves especially as he is really unique to watch. RK-BRO and MVP were also great on the mic and it was good to see Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville show up to actually remind fans that they have power and authority. Overall, while far from perfect or even great this was a decent way to open the show.
3. AJ Styles and Xavier Woods square off
AJ Styles and Omos would look strong this week on RAW as they both picked up singles victories, with Omos pinning John Morrison who took on Omos after The Miz couldn’t appear on RAW and AJ getting a win over Xavier Woods. Woods would have the early advantage in the match as he managed to catch AJ off guard and was able to block AJ’s counters. However, Styles was able to fight back after catching Woods with a strike. From there Styles began targeting the leg of Woods and was able to keep Woods controlled throughout most of the match.
Woods managed to fight back late in the match with a few stiff strikes, rocking AJ and was able to block a Styles Clash but the result would be inevitable as Styles managed to grab the injured leg of Woods and was able to roll into the Calf Crusher, forcing Woods to tap despite his best efforts to escape. After the match Styles’ celebration would be cut short by the RAW Tag Team Champions, RK-Bro as AJ seemed annoyed at the interruption.(which is fair considering RAW opened with a heap of interruptions) This caused Styles to join the commentary table as he and Omos watched the main event.
This was a fun little match that was great from start to finish. Styles and Woods have shown that they have a lot of chemistry working together and have put on great matches in the past. It should be noted that Omos also had a good showing against John Morrison. With it being most likely inevitable that the pair will break up sometime in the future, hopefully, Omos can use this time to build on as in-ring work as a singles star.
2. RK-Bro defend their new RAW Tag Team Titles against Bobby Lashley and MVP
After their match was made official by Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce, RK-Bro would defend their Raw Tag Team Titles against Lashley and MVP. All four men put on a solid main event as RK-Bro yet again worked well as a team together. Riddle and Bobby Lashley started things off for their teams, renewing their rivalry from earlier in the year as both men went back and forth as Riddle used his striking power and Lashley used his RAW power. (pun intended)
Late in the match, AJ sent Omos out to attack Orton outside the ring but Riddle was able to stop the attack. Riddle was then able to take out Lashley and hit MVP with the Floating Bro for the win. After the match, Lashley came out of nowhere and hit Riddle with a spear, but The Viper would save his teammate and hit an RKO on Lashley saving Riddle in the process.
This was a fun little main event that made RK-Bro look good and helped set up a future rivalry between The Hurt Business and RK-Bro as it does not look things are settled between the two groups.
1. Sheamus, Drew McIntyre and Damien Priest steal the show
Sheamus, Drew McIntyre and Damien Priest managed to steal the show (which to be fair doesn’t really say much) as they put on an amazing match. All three men exchanged brutal strikes in a thrilling match. Eventually, Priest was able to get the win, pinning Drew McIntyre clean.
Priest pinning Drew was great to see and hopefully, WWE has big plans for him in the future especially as it was teased he would feud with Bobby down the line.
It was also great to see Drew take a backstage seat once again, as his new role outside the title picture is helping him regain fans.
These were my top 5 moments from this week’s edition of Monday Night RAW, what were your top 5 moments from RAW this week and what do you think of the ugly shoot fight between Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax. Let us know in the comment section down below.
News From Cook’s Corner 12.6.21: The Kids Are All Right
Cook’s news has a grab bag of interesting topics! New faces in weird places, an NXT major event and more!
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and I can’t believe we’re approaching the end of 2021. It just seems like yesterday we were talking about how 2020 was the worst year ever and were excited to see it coming to an end. I haven’t seen that sentiment as much about 2021, but I think that’s because time moves so quickly that we don’t have the opportunity to take these things into account.
Has 2021 been good or bad? I have no idea! It’s been a year, as far as I can tell.
As for this past week in the world of wrestling…it was a week! Just glancing over the week’s news gives me the feeling that nothing happens when people aren’t getting released. Uncle Dave spent most of his time talking about who should make his hall of fame. Heck, the main thing to rock Wrestling Twitter last week was a casting decision for the NXT WarGames pre-show panel. I had no idea people still watched those things, especially on an NFL Sunday where there were a number of exciting finishes. I did catch the last bit of it though, and from what I saw I don’t think we have to worry about the future of wrestling journalism being corrupted.
I’m trying to work up some kind of take on the whole thing, because I know people love it when I go off on other Internet wrestling journalists/personalities for perceived grievances or for being hypocritical sycophants. Unfortunately, I don’t really know any of these people, and as far as I know they haven’t said any shit about me or my friends. So I’ve got nothing, other than my opinion that Denise Salcedo is more visually appealing than David Bixenspan. I know! It’s a hot take, but I went there!
Let’s look at what happened at NXT WarGames, a show I was interested in more than Broncos vs. Chiefs. Looks like I was right on that one.
Raquel Gonzalez, Io Shirai, Cora Jade & Kay Lee Ray beat Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai in the Women’s War Games Match
First of all, credit to all the women involved, because they put it all out there and did the best they could. The only issue was a little bit of booking getting in the way. There’s a reason why War Games is almost always worked with the heels having the advantage. Unless Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai aren’t heels, which I thought they were, but the match layout had the effect of having them get sympathy for most of it. Also some awkward moments where the heels got the advantage even whilst outnumbered. However, there was more than enough to make up for the weird psychology. Lots of weapons, Cora Jade losing her mind and doing a swanton off the top of a cage through a table, good times.
And I’ll probably get some crap for it, but I still don’t like the whole “pinfalls in WarGames” thing. I know it’s been a thing here in NXT, but give me “Submit or Surrender” any day of the week. In any event, it was nice to see the young girls do a good job here and shove it in the face of those that didn’t think they could pull off a WarGames match. Give the kids a chance, I say.
Imperium defended the NXT Tag Team Championship against Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner
Fabian Aichner likes to jump around, doesn’t he? I thought this was a pretty solid match, which did one thing much better than most of the NXT Tag Team Championship matches I’ve seen over the years. Imperium eventually hit their finisher after everybody did a bunch of stuff. One finisher ended it. Didn’t need to do five Imperial Bombs to get it done on one of these shows. I can dig that.
Then in a shocking surprise, KOR actually got the better of Von in the attempted post-match beatdown. We expected Wagner to drum the poor boy out, but that’ll have to wait for another day. O’Reilly also threw up some Undisputed Era sign language, just the thing to get people talking.
Cameron Grimes beat Duke Hudson in a hair vs. hair match
NXT’s crowds certainly have their rough moments, but I do appreciate their knowledge of mid-90s WWF Superstars leading to a “Duke the Dumpster” chant. The more I noticed the tell-tale signs of male pattern baldness on Hudson, I had a feeling where this was going. He got the ol’ weedwhacker haircut too, which is much worse than the clean shave. Match was ok, just killing time until the haircut.
Roderick Strong retained the Cruiserweight Championship against Joe Gacy
Roderick did the best he could with this one. Frankly, I would have been ok with Gacy becoming an All Inclusive champion, but that would have been a division-killing move more than anything else. 205 Live does seem to still be a thing for some reason, so that doesn’t seem imminent. I’m sure Gacy will find something to do, as we liberal scum always have some hopeless cause to fight for.
Kyle challenged Von to a cage match on Tuesday, because cage matches are the thing in WWE these days. Big E vs. Kevin Owens on Monday, this on Tuesday, all kinds of house show ones apparently. Not sure what the deal is there.
Team 2.0 defeated Team Black & Gold in the Men’s War Games Match
The young boys pretty much had to win this one in order to be taken seriously, and that’s exactly what they did. Proper WarGames psychology with the heels continually getting the advantage. You got Gargano & Ciampa doing their old tag team spots one last time. LA Knight showed more fire than usual. The youngsters were fine, but Bron Breakker easily stood out amongst the pack. We thought that Bron might get the win over Gargano, but Bron getting the win over Ciampa was the smarter move, to further set up the eventual title change. Lots of crazy spots, weapons randomly brought into the ring. I’d say it stood up well against previous iterations of the WarGames match.
I know that my general opinions on NXT fly in the face of most folks’ on the Internet. They’re upset that the super indy is no more. At some point, however, one must move on. Or at least try to give the new thing a chance. I will say that the wrestlers on this particular show put on a good effort, and I was especially impressed with the folks that people told me weren’t ready for a WarGames match.
The one downside of NXT 2.0 that I can’t deny? You’ll get some dumb shit like this:
— X (@KnowTheX) December 6, 2021
Fortunately I was in the bathroom when this happened live. So my best advice to you would be to drink a lot of water so you’ll be in the restroom during commercials.
Who Was Where?
With all these companies releasing people lately, it’s only natural to expect names to show up different places than you might expect. When possible, I’ll try to update you on these matters so you know who to expect in what places.
AEW: Matt Taven & Jonathan Gresham were backstage at the AEW tapings in Duluth, GA this week. Both men are under ROH contract until the end of the year and currently have other things going on, but it wouldn’t be shocking if Tony Khan was interested in bringing either in based off of their working ability. Gresham is from the Atlanta area, while Taven was in town for the NWA’s Hard Times 2 event, which featured some other interesting names in a different place than usual.
NWA: The aforementioned Hard Times 2 saw a couple of interesting debuts for the company. Dirty Dango, formerly known as Fandango, appeared after the tag team championship match, forming a team with none other than JTG. Seems like an awfully random teaming, but I’m sure they worked together at some point during their tenure with WWE. It seemed like they were both there forever.
Matt Cardona also made his debut with the company, he’ll be targeting the NWA World Championship. I said the other night that Impact Wrestling should put their title on Cardona to try & make themselves more relevant, and the same definitely holds true for the NWA. Cardona easily has more buzz than anybody else working NWA shows right now. Heck, his positive buzz might cancel out some of the negative buzz surrounding other people on that roster.
AAA: A couple of familiar names returned to AAA at their TripleMania Regia event, neither coming as much of a surprise. Taya Valkyrie sent in a video declaring her intention to challenge Deonna Purrazzo, current holder of the Reina de Reinas Championship. Makes sense, as Deonna was the last woman to wrestle Taya before her ill-fated stint with WWE NXT. Taya has spent most of her career working for AAA and didn’t leave on bad terms, so her return was always just a matter of time.
A name less familiar to most of you but one I remember from back in the day also returned, as Cibernetico made his first appearance with AAA since 2015. He was one of the company’s top stars during the 1990s & 2000s, and has had several stints with the company. He usually seems to leave due to some sort of an issue with Konnan, and has returned to re-establish his issue with Konnan. Lots of people have issues with Konnan, what can I say? If you’re old like me, you might remember Cibernetico’s brief stint with the WWF as part of an AAA invasion deal that helped fill out the card for the 1997 Royal Rumble in San Antonio.
Jeff Hardy Sent Home
PWInsider reported that Jeff Hardy was sent home by WWE after Saturday’s live event in Edinburg, TX. He was working a six-man tag team match with Drew McIntyre & Xavier Woods against The Bloodline. Apparently Hardy spent most of the match selling in a more sluggish way than usual, and after tagging out he went into the crowd, not returning for the post-match celebration.
Naturally, given Jeff’s history people are going to be alarmed whenever reports like this come out. Hopefully things will end up all right.
AEW Had A Release
I almost forgot, we had another AEW release made public this week. Big Swole’s contract expired at the end of November, and she asked not to renew it. Swole hadn’t wrestled for AEW since a Dark taping on September 11, and hadn’t been on TNT since October 14, 2020. Her highest-profile feud was with Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, and Swole even defeated Dr. Baker in the infamous Tooth & Nail match.
Swole is married to Cedric Alexander, who’s still under WWE contract. That used to be a pretty good way to get hired over there, but not so much these days.
Welp, that’s all we have time for this week! Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.
Cook’s NXT War Games 2021 Gambling Picks
Everyone might not love NXT 2.0, but we all love money! Cook brings us the gambling picks for WarGames just in case anyone wants to roll the dice on making some cash.
NXT is presenting their first Network special of the 2.0 era today. It’s the first non-TakeOver special in quite sometime, as NXT starts a new era with the latest edition of War Games. We’ll see lot of experienced talent taking on some not-so-experienced talent. Should be interesting, and it could be even more interesting if you want to put your money where your mouth is!
Odds provided by BetOnline
Hair vs. Hair
Cameron Grimes (-120) vs. Duke Hudson (-120)
Step 1: Shave Duke bald
— Cameron Grimes (@CGrimesWWE) December 1, 2021
Grimes is one of those guys who can excel in most environments you put him in. Whether it’s the Old or the New NXT, he fits in quite well doing what he does. I’m honestly not too familiar with Duke Hudson outside of his work here in NXT, but apparently he was a big deal in his native country of Australia. We all know that Australians are taking over the wrestling world, so it’s tough to bet against Hudson being a big deal here in America eventually. Especially since he’s got the billed height & weight that WWE wants out of its Superstars.
So if you’re asking me who has the brighter future with this company, I would say “Duke Hudson”. If you’re asking me who needs their hair more, I would say “Cameron Grimes”. Hudson’s look might benefit from a trim, so expect Cameron Grimes to take it to the moon.
Men’s War Games Match
Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Grayson Waller & Tony D’Angelo (-200) vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne & LA Knight (+150)
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) December 1, 2021
It’s New School vs. Old School, 2.0 vs. Black & Gold or whatever fun names you want to give these teams meant to signify the different eras of NXT. Ciampa & Gargano have been two of NXT’s top stars for most of the past several years. Dunne ran things over in the UK. LA Knight…well, he isn’t exactly one of the top names in NXT’s history, but he’s an established veteran that NXT fans know from other places. He’s been around a while, while these young whipper-snappers haven’t.
Of course, the idea of this match is to make a young whipper-snapper or two. Bron seems to be the chosen one, so I’d be shocked if he wasn’t beating somebody into submission or oblivion to end this thing. Most likely Gargano since he’s the one that has an expiring contract. Team 2.0 should get the win here. Keep an eye on Ciampa here though. I feel like they want him to be the heel against Bron, and a good way to do that would be to have Ciampa beat up Gargano after the match. You know, to give his DIY partner a proper send-off.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
Imperium (-200) vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner (+150)
— WWE (@WWE) December 1, 2021
Another one of those matches where contract issues have to be considered. Nobody would really think of KOR & Von as a long-term team under normal circumstances. Since Kyle’s contract comes up sometime this month, we can go ahead and assume that tag team isn’t lasting past…this match? Sounds about right to me.
Imperium wins. Also, I don’t get Von Wagner’s name. He sounds like he should be part of Imperium but he’s actually from Minnesota.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match
Roderick Strong (-185) vs. Joe Gacy (+140)
I see that the NXT universe has decided to weight shame me. This is why I’m doing what I am doing!
— Joe Gacy (@JoeGacy) November 24, 2021
Joe Gacy is tired of your bodyshaming. I must say, as one that has had difficulty with their weight and been bodyshamed by my peers on countless occasions, I understand where he’s coming from. Part of me wants him to beat Rod Strong and claim the Cruiserweight Championship for all of us who have been discriminated against just because we eat a little more than the average person. Then the other part of me thinks that Rod Strong is a much better professional wrestler and deserves to have a title belt around his skinny waist. So it’s a tough call.
When in doubt, I go with the guy getting the push. Sure, the Diamond Mine has been getting some TV time, but Gacy’s doing what Vince & Bruce want, getting some attention from the lamestream Fox media. Roll with the underdog here, and if you’re one of those people whining about Joe Gacy not weighing 205 or under…be thankful that he hasn’t targeted the Women’s Championship in his crusade against barriers.
Women’s War Games Match
Raquel Gonzalez, Io Shirai, Cora Jade & Kay Lee Ray (-125) vs. Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai (-115)
— Mandy (@WWE_MandyRose) December 1, 2021
Toxic Attraction has been one of the focal points of NXT 2.0. It’s not the worst idea they’ve ever had. Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne have a lot going for them. It’s tough to take your eyes off of them for too long. I think we can all agree they’re pretty great…until the bell rings. Then things are a bit more debatable. War Games isn’t exactly a match you would expect them to fare well in, which has led to much complaining over their inclusion in this match.
Thing is, that’s part of the reason to be interested in this match. We don’t know how Toxic Attraction will fare. We figure Dakota Kai knows what’s up. Certainly, the likes of Io Shirai, Kay Lee Ray & Raquel Gonzalez will be just fine. Cora Jade? Well, she’s a youngster, but War Games seems like something she’d be into. Perhaps our worrying is for nothing, and Toxic Attraction are at least as ready for this thing as we presume Cora Jade is. I’m willing to give it a chance.
As for a winner, the non-Toxic Attraction team is the way to go here, ideally setting up a challenger for Mandy’s championship.
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